Session replays 101
We've covered what session recordings are in more detail before, so make sure you read that for the complete breakdown. For now, a little refresher:
Session replay is a technology that records videos of user sessions while they are in your product so you can see user behavior, bugs and other issues in context.
Though the mechanism isn’t quite so simple, you can think of a session replay as watching a screen recording from your user while they are interacting with your product.
This screen recording will show you:
- Your user's mouse movements
- The pages a user visited on your website or app
- How far they scrolled down a particular page
- How quickly they scrolled
- How they interacted with elements on a page
- Where they clicked on a page
- How fast they clicked off your app or webpage
- If they showed signs of frustration, by rage clicking, for example
All of these individual interactions can add up to a larger picture about exactly how your users behave while in your product and ways you can improve it.
How session recordings can help your company
If you're new to the session replay concept, we've created this introductory list detailing the best session replay vendors for different industries or use cases.
As a company, having the help of session replay apps is incredibly valuable — teams across the board can benefit, from support to CX to product and development.
Here are just a couple of examples of how this plays out in practice:
- Your product team can learn what pain points exist with users in their interactions with the current version of your web app. They can use this knowledge to see bugs in context, identify problem areas and proactively deploy targeted fixes.
- Your marketing team can learn exactly how users navigate your website and how effective your landing pages are at converting them. They can use this information to increase conversion rates.
- Your support team can gain a contextual understanding of support tickets, which will aid them in helping users without the need for long back-and-forth conversations or asking users to do the heavy lifting of inspecting elements and describing bugs. The result? Improved CSAT scores and other metrics like time-to-resolution.
How to choose the right session replay & recordings software
Since session recording tools are more popular than ever, many players have entered the market and it isn’t always easy to identify which one solution to settle on. Here are some key things to look for when evaluating the different solutions on the market.
Is this easy to implement?
Session replay tools should make the job of your developers easier, not harder. A session replay tool that is a pain to implement is no good. With Fullview, you’ll only ever have a few lines of code to implement in order to start using our end-to-end customer support platform, including cobrowsing and session replays.
Is it worth your money?
Since most session replay tools are cloud-based and use cloud infrastructure to store and retrieve your session recordings, the pricing structure can quickly get convoluted and expensive, so make sure the session replay tool you choose is upfront about the amount of recordings you can store and watch on your plan. Fullview offers both a free and pro plan and you can store and watch session recordings on both. On our free plan, you have access to a monthly limit of 1000 recorded replays and 25 watched replays. On our pro plan, the monthly limit is raised significantly to 5000 recorded and 125 watched. We also offer add-ons here, so you can choose to purchase extensions to these monthly limits.
Does it have minimal infrastructure impact?
The way your session replay tool records, compresses and stores user sessions can have an impact on the performance of your own platform, so it’s important to pick a tool that will have minimum infrastructure impact, working quietly in the background without drawing attention to itself. Fullview takes this seriously and will never negatively impact your product performance.
Does it take user privacy seriously?
Because session replay inherently involves recording user activity, it is immensely important to find a tool that takes user privacy seriously. Fullview’s session replay tool is fully GDPR compliant. We also give you the option to blur out sensitive data during recording sessions so you can easily put the privacy of your users front and center.
Does it feature robust integrations?
A session replay tool that works in isolation without any way to integrate it into your larger support stack is not ideal. In the very near future, Fullview will feature integrations with Zendesk, Intercom, Jira and other common support SaaS to truly facilitate giving your agents, developers and product managers a full(over)view.
Session replays: industry landscape
Before we dive into the detailed breakdown below, we thought we'd give you a high-level view of the session recordings landscape today and highlight the most prominent vendors.
We've divided all solutions into four different quadrants: technical customer support, UX, DX and marketing. We've then evaluated each solution based on relevance and performance.
- In the technical customer support category, we believe Fullview comes out on top because it also offers cobrowsing and console logs for a complete technical support solution and full context into support tickets. It also has integrations with support platforms like Intercom, Zendesk and Salesforce, so can be easily adopted by a large percentage of support teams who already use one or more of those platforms.
- In the UX category, we think Hotjar comes out on top because of its price point, ease-of-use and simple UI.
- In the DX category, we believe Fullstory wins because of how comprehensive the data it captures is. Though pricy, we believe it is well worth investing in for companies with the budget and the need for a 360 degree view of their digital experience.
- In the marketing category, SmartLook's funnel analysis capabilities are a welcome addition to its session replay tool and allow marketers to see exactly what parts of their funnel are the weakest.
Fullview - the best session replays for SaaS customer support
Fullview’s end-to-end technical support platform was designed specifically to break down silos between customer support and product teams. With features like cobrowsing, session replays and console information, Fullview makes it easy to turn customer feedback and user experience data into actionable insights that customer support agents can use to provide better support and product teams can use to deploy proactive and targeted improvements to your product.
Fullview is the only session replay vendor on this list that is based in Europe, which means that it is fully GDPR compliant and all user data is stored within the EU.
It seamlessly integrates with your existing support or tech stack for when you need to escalate level one support tickets into levels two and three. Some integrations it offers are with:
and more! Visit the integrations page for more information about each one.
Fullview Session Replays Free
The free plan from Fullview gives your organization access to 1000 recorded session replays per month, with a 7 day detention and 1 integration.
Fullview Session Replays Pro | €200/month
The pro version starts at 10,000 session replays per month with a 30-day retention period and unlimited integrations. You can purchase more session replays as an add-on in-app. We also offer a 14-day free trial.
Fullview Replays Enterprise | Custom Pricing
We offer bespoke plans for enterprise clients tailored specifically to their needs, so get in touch.
How session replay works with Fullview
As one of the best session replay tools today, Fullview is a reliable way to get into the minds of your users and learn the most effective ways to offer support. It is also one of the only session replay tools that is specifically designed for technical customer support and product teams, with the goal of breaking down silos and allowing you to transform your customer support operation from a cost center into an engine for growth. It can be integrated with your existing customer support and technical stack to serve as a bridge between the two.
With an intuitively designed interface, your team will quickly catch on and capture the context behind support tickets before starting a call or customer support session with a user. Your users will automatically be pulled into your Fullview dashboard (the same way they are in Intercom, for example) and you can directly engage with them there. You can look up a user to call them directly and start a cobrowsing session within your app. You can also see a log of all the previous calls a user has had with support agents, as well as see a list of session replays that are associated with each user from their individual customer page.
Fullview session replays also comes with powerful labeling and filtering capabilities, so you can create custom labels for sessions you want to find quickly at a later date and then use the search function to filter by those sessions.
You can even combine filters and create custom views for filter combinations you need to access regularly. Let's say, for example, that you frequently want to check for sessions where users encountered a particular kind of error on your account settings page. You can create those labels, tag sessions, and then create a custom view with that combination of filters to keep all those sessions at your fingertips.
Want to see how this works IRL? Try the demo above!
You’ll no longer have to engage in long back-and-forth conversations with a user to understand their problems. With Fullview’s session replays, you can watch session recordings to understand how your users are interacting with your product and where pain points lie. You can also see bugs in context with our Fullview console logs feature, which is a side panel available during a session replay recording that displays user journey, network and system information. You can filter this information by warnings, errors and logs so you have a complete overview of any technical glitches your users encounter. You’ll never again have to ask them to do the heavy lifting of inspecting elements or describing bugs.
You can skip periods of inactivity, jump straight to errors and bugs during the session, and easily share time-stamped recordings with others.
The ability to understand the underlying issues behind certain situations will serve your support team exceptionally well and can even help your company improve metrics like CSAT and time to resolution.
Fullview doesn’t require any downloads. All you have to do is sign up for an account and install a few lines of code to get started. Installation typically only takes about 15 minutes.
GDPR compliance and data privacy
As the only solution based in Europe, Fullview takes GDPR very seriously and is fully GDPR-compliant to protect user privacy. All data is stored within the EU. GDPR-sensitive information is automatically blurred out during cobrowsing calls and session replay recordings. You can further customize the data fields you want to censor. We also provide data collection agreements to our users, so get in touch with us if you need one.
FullStory is a fully knitted-out session replay solution that works best for larger companies in the e-commerce and retail industries.
Enterprise | Contact FullStory
This plan is designed for use by multiple departments within an organization, providing total clarity on its digital portfolio and customer behavior. This plan has a demo available, and the actual price varies, with most users reportedly paying around $800 per month.
Business | Contact FullStory
This is a plan for teams looking for actionable data to learn about new trends, create customer journeys and provide a perfect user experience. There is a demo that can be used upon contacting FullStory. Alternatively, there's also a 14-day free trial available.
How session replay works with FullStory
As a DXI (Digital Experience Intelligence) platform, FullStory is a complete package worth using if you're looking to transform how your e-commerce and retail business treats customers. With FullStory, you're getting an integrated package that you can use to ensure that members of various departments in your organization are provided with valuable insights about how to increase retail conversion rates.
Data collection with FullStory is pretty impressive as the app has the ability to auto-capture interactions retroactively, giving you a backdrop that shows why certain things tend to be the trend with users.
All events with FullStory are captured and indexed in a tag-free format. Within the snippet of code, your teams can quickly breeze through the information for the most minute details, including mouse movements, clicks, dynamic state changes, and more.
The recording playback tools with FullStory are also worth checking out as you can quickly skip through periods of inactivity during recordings.
GDPR compliance and data privacy
FullStory is a good option in terms of safety and data privacy. Check out FullStory’s documentation to ensure that you're not breaking any rules under GDPR while using it. You will need to manually ensure that all the data you are processing follows these rules, which is one drawback that a solution like Fullview doesn't suffer from since it is based in Europe and all data is already stored on EU servers.
Hotjar’s focus on website experience and simple features make it ideal for marketing teams looking to improve landing pages and conversion rates.
Hotjar is a Session Replay app with eight different pricing plans separated into two different categories. Ask and Observe. They recently introduced Engage, but that is still in beta.
Observe Basic | Free | 35 daily sessions
35 daily sessions with the ability to visualize user behavior through Heatmaps and recordings. You'll get access to 1,050 sessions monthly with unlimited heatmaps and automatic data capture.
Observe Plus | €32 | 100 daily sessions
Everything included in Observe Basic with the addition of events API to track custom actions from users, filtering and segmentation of data, and up to 3,000 sessions monthly.
Observe Business | €80 | 500 daily sessions
Everything in the Observe Plus package, along with some custom-built integrations, frustration and confusion signals from users, and an Identify API to track custom user attributes.
Observe Scale | Contact Hotjar
This plan includes unlimited daily sessions along with the presence of a dedicated customer success manager.
Ask Basic | Free | 20 monthly responses
This plan helps with learning how users feel about your services through feedback from surveys. You can also create and store 3 surveys and feedback widgets.
Ask Plus | €48 | 250 monthly responses
All the elements from Ask Basic, with the inclusion of unlimited surveys and feedback widgets, feedback is available in 40+ languages.
Ask Business | €64 | 500 monthly responses
Everything in Ask Plus and the ability to analyze survey performance, remove Hotjar branding, and more.
Ask Scale | Contact Hotjar
This is a more customized version of the Hotjar session replay service, so you'll gain access to a dedicated success manager, full access to every feature, and a few other perks.
How session replay works with Hotjar
Session replays, or "recordings" as Hotjar prefers to call them, allow you to view user activity on your website. One of the most valuable of these tools is the heatmap feature which visualizes user behavior and mouse clicks in a way that is similar to thermal imagery — areas of high activity or clicks are shown in red, and areas of low activity or clicks are shown in blue. By showcasing user activity through the heatmap feature, Hotjar has become very useful for UX designers who wish to prioritize areas of interest. By seeing what works in attracting users, Hotjar will ensure that your teams can do a fantastic job at improving landing pages on your website.
The recordings feature can be used to give you a complete picture of user activity and the ability to experience your website through the eyes (or mouse clicks) of your users.
GDPR compliance and data privacy
Hotjar is fully compliant with GDPR rules.
Smartlook’s nifty funnel analysis feature gives digital marketers a way to see exactly where prospects and users stop following the path set out for them or drop off entirely. This allows companies to continually optimize sales and marketing funnels.
The free plan for Smartlook provides users with 1,500 sessions monthly, allowing them to view 3 heatmaps, 2 events, and 1 funnel.
Startup | $31/month
This plan includes 5,000 monthly sessions and the ability to view 10 heatmaps, 4 events, and 1 funnel.
Business | $93/month
With the business plan, users have access to 15,000 monthly sessions, along with 30 heatmaps, 12 events, and 4 funnels. You can upgrade these limits by contacting the Smartlook team.
Ultimate | Contact Smartlook
The Ultimate plan offers custom features for organizations according to their needs. The pricing model differs, so get in touch with their team to work out something custom.
How session replay works with Smartlook
Smartlook is one of the only session replay apps out there that includes a funnel analysis feature. It is also a pretty straightforward and relatively easy app to implement and use.
Session recordings are presented in a simple interface that allows you to filter various components, including location, events, OS, and other things. Providing these filters makes it easier to streamline points of concern or priority while trying to improve the quality of your service.
GDPR compliance and data privacy
Smartlook addresses the need for data privacy through the guidance of CCPA regulations, which are similar to the GDPR but primarily enforced in the state of California.
How Fullview Session Replays help you improve customer support and product development
Understanding how users interact with your web app is critical to providing excellent user experiences and superior customer support interactions, but it can be challenging to see what's happening within your product without a session recording tool, which means you're flying blind and are likely making decisions that could harm your business.
Fullview is the solution you've been looking for. Our intuitively designed tool pulls all your user data into one place, so all your technical customer support interactions have a home and can easily be reviewed by support agents, product managers and developers.
For support agents and managers
- Fullview Cobrowsing can be used to instantly hop on a call with a user and offer support in a real-time, collaborative way.
- Fullview Console Logs can be used to identify technical errors and warnings, so agents never have to ask a user to inspect anything or describe a bug ever again.
- Fullview Session Replays gives agents the ability to understand issues even before jumping on a call with users, since Fullview replays are not anonymized and are tied to individual users, all accessible from a user’s customer page in Fullview. You can even label replays, create custom views, and find specific replays in seconds with powerful filtering capabilities.
- Fullview can help support agents and managers improve key support metrics like CSAT and time to resolution.
For product managers
- Fullview Cobrowsing can be used to improve onboarding experiences.
- Fullview Session Replays can be used to study the user journey and identify pain points to improve UI and UX within your web app. We auto-detect signs of frustration like rage clicks, and you can jump immediately to them while watching a session to see exactly what's causing friction.
- Fullview can help product managers improve metrics like conversion rates, user adoption, user retention and revenue growth.
- Fullview Console Logs can be used to identify technical errors and warnings, so developers never have to ask a support agent to describe what a user is experiencing. They can also use it to send automated bug reports to other applications in their technical stack, so manual bug reporting can be minimized or abandoned altogether.
- Fullview Session Replays gives devs the ability to see bugs in context, which makes it easier to understand what is happening, replicate it, and deploy proactive, targeted fixes before small issues turn into major problems.
- Fullview’s console features and automated bug reporting can help developers save time and deploy fixes faster.
Wrapping things up
Session replays can be immensely valuable for companies of all sizes and in all industries. They offer a way to gain deeper insights into user behavior and can help teams across the board to improve their products, support, and customer experience. When choosing a session replay tool, look for ease of implementation, value for your money, minimal infrastructure impact, user privacy, and robust integrations. Fullview is one such session replay tool built specifically so that customer support and product teams can demystify user and product issues for exceptional customer experiences.